CENTRAL Victorian agencies have welcomed the establishment of Respect Victoria, an independent statutory authority dedicated to the prevention of family violence.
“Respect Victoria has got a really crucial role to play in helping lead conversations about what respect is and how to prevent family violence,” Centre for Non-Violence chief executive Margaret Augerinos said.
“It’s a really important step.”
She said the new agency’s ties to government provided legitimacy to its work and demonstrated a commitment by government to the prevention of family violence.
Many of the organisations working towards the prevention of violence were not-for-profit and community organisations, Ms Augerinos said.
Respect Victoria fulfills a recommendation handed down the Royal Commission into Family Violence.
The agency is also tied to the state government’s Free from violence strategy.
The Royal Commission recommended the state government resource an initiative to oversee prevention of family violence activities in Victoria.
That initiative would be responsible for providing policy and technical advice to both policy makers and to organisations on primary prevention, ensuring the provision of accredited workforce development training, and coordinating research into violence prevention.
It was recommended the government resource the initiative within 18 months of the commission’s findings being handed down in March 2016.
📝BIG NEWS! 📝— Respect Victoria (@Respect__Vic) October 4, 2018
We've been officially recognised as a Statutory Authority – fulfilling Recommendation 188 of the Royal Commission into Family Violence.
Thank you for putting your faith in us, Victoria. We will not let you down.#RespectVictoriapic.twitter.com/Z3JEjpSexB
“It is important this issue has the support of everyone in government to succeed,” Ms Augerinos said.
“There’s so much riding on this. We’ve got to get this right.”
Women’s Health Loddon Mallee executive officer Tricia Currie said the new agency would support local work in primary prevention.
“Respect Victoria will focus on the root causes of family violence including gender inequality, a key driver of violence against women, and all forms of discrimination,” Ms Currie said.
“This dedicated focus on prevention will help us gain a deeper understanding of what works best on the ground to stop violence before it starts in regional and rural areas.”
She believed Respect Victoria’s focus on communication, engagement, research and evaluation would galvanise the work of local organisations and change the attitudes, social norms and cultures that result in violence.
“We look forward to working with Respect Victoria and to a Victoria free from family violence,” Ms Currie said.
One in three Australian women has experienced physical violence, and one in five women has experienced sexual violence.
One in seven Australian men have experienced emotional abuse by a partner, according to Respect Victoria.
The agency’s chair, Melanie Eagle, said Respect Victoria’s work would require a whole-of-community approach.
“Respect Victoria has an ambitious agenda and a responsibility to support a future free from violence for all Victorians,” Ms Eagle said.
Minister for the Prevention of Family Violence, Natalie Hutchins said Respect Victoria’s establishment as a statutory authority was a significant milestone in working towards creating a Victoria free from violence.
“We know prevention is key to ending the scourge of family violence. As the state’s first ever family violence prevention agency, Respect Victoria will take us one step closer to a community free from violence,” she said.
If you or someone you know is impacted by sexual assault, domestic or family violence, call 1800RESPECT on 1800 737 732 or visit www.1800respect.org.au. In an emergency, call 000.
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